by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mercury Retrograde: August 20 - September 12

 Mercury - by Hendrick Goitzius

As of August 20th at 8pm GMT, Mercury will be in retrograde motion. And it will not go direct again until September 12th.

It's taking a rest, one might say - hence the unusual image (above) of Mercury the Greek god actually sitting down.

This is not to say that planets in retrograde aren't active. They are. Think of it this way: the planet isn't losing mass just because from our vantage point here on Earth relative planetary speeds make it looking it's 'losing ground' or "going backward," right?

The planet is still the planet. It still has all the same mass and all the same forward motion, all the same gravitational affect and the rest of it. So retrograde must be about the relative point of view we get on said planet - and thus, on the metaphysical attributes associated with the planet.

From our point of view the planet (and thus all it represents) is not moving forward. Thus neither are matters connected with it - which in the case of Mercury are 'thinking oriented.' And when thoughts are not moving forward...what are they? Either static or under review, right?

Thus we come to the meaning of Mercury retrograde: things either being 'on hold' (static) or 'under review' (getting looked into, edited, worked on, etc.).

Fair enough...what do we know about this retrograde period?

Well, for one, the whole of this retrograde takes place in the sign of Virgo (keywords: health, work, service), a sign all about doing whatever it takes to maintain, improve or streamline life and one's efforts.

Constellation Virgo - source:

The most famous star in Virgo is called Spica. Positioned at 23 Libra (yes, Virgo is a very large constellation!), Spica was originally envisioned as the wheat sheaf carried by the goddess of the harvest - a symbol of 'sustenance which encourages healthy growth.'

Yet because Spica is also thought lend 'brilliance' to whatever position or planet it is connected to, it's sensible to think that as civilization has become ever more mechanized and technological, Spica is very much a star about the sorts of expertise and skill so typically associated with Virgo. Maybe you've heard that Virgo can be 'nit-picky' or obsessive about details? Well, that's this exact quality gone overboard; where honing one's ability jumps the proverbial shark we get pickiness, over-attention to detail and that other Virgo no-no, critique-criticism when anyone doesn't think like you do.

All this comes back to Virgo being an earthy - concrete - sign which deals in tangibles, but one which in being ruled by thinking, thoughtful, idea and question provoking Mercury is all about mentality.

The Thinker - Auguste Rodin 

It's the idea of the thing, the how to do it well or better which is Virgoan. Virgo's striving to do things well or better is where it comes by its care-giver nature (bettering health through service). And why Virgo is associated with those in 'helping' or 'service' professions, be that a civil servant, a doctor, members of the military or in a general sense, employees.

Virgo rules all those things we do because they simply need doing; Mercury's twin rulership of Virgo and Gemini (sign of choice-organization-priority) gives us the picture of Virgo as the sign under which we get those things done which Mercury/Gemini has chosen to do.

With this now in mind, we look to where in the sign of Virgo Mercury is going retrograde. Answer: at 19 degrees Virgo, a degree which is about being practical if  philosophical yet not distinctly determined and pragmatic in a way which may come off as hard. Sharp statements which cut through the fluff are typical of this degree, as is a pronounced willingness to take on detailed or technique-oriented tasks which require time and perseverance.

Nineteen degrees of any sign being the final degree of the 2nd (emotional) decanate, we can expect matters to be about emotionalism and to raise emotions (or stir passions) about now. And a note on that too: though associated with 'the Virgin,' and for the past couple of thousand years with the Christian Mary, the astrological Virgo is not chaste. How could she be if she is goddess of the fruitful, fertile harvest?

Sommer - by Leopold Karl Walter Graf von Kalckreuth (1890)

The non-sexual-celibate, rather 'prudish' version of Virgo many of us have heard of is something laid on by religious hands probably seeking to douse what is a  natural, nature-oriented, physicality-accepting aspect of Virgo. Doctors, remember?

The separator term here is 'purity,' which has through some religious associations come to be thought of as chaste. In Virgo? Not so much! Known as a sensual sign which in accepting the mortality of human existence is well aligned with intimate notions, Virgo (particularly because of it's polarity with spiritual, unworldly Pisces) embodies that essence where the mundane becomes special.

Where it is...pure. That's the thing to understand about Virgo - the key to this sign is the cleanliness of concept. That which is uncluttered, functions well. That which is well formed, suits and fits the required purpose. That's Virgo: pure Virgo.

As when any planet goes retrograde, Mercury in Virgo going retrograde means the attribute functions not so much on an external, but rather an internal basis. So as Mercury now goes into retrograde, all the attributes and qualities we've just discussed - those are the lens through which you are likely to look at yourself now. Or be seen. And considering how easily planetary symbols in Virgo tend to manifest as critiques and criticism, you may feel highly critical now - of yourself or someone else as you measure them against what you think of as your 'good and pure self.'

Probably not a great idea, granted. But don't be shocked if you get into such a mood.

Anyone with a placement between 14 and 24 of Virgo, Pisces, Sagittarius or Gemini is likely to have the hardest time integrating their own concepts and points of view with what presents themselves now. But they do have options - remember that!

People with placements between 14 and 24 of Capricorn and Taurus are likely to feel caught up in an ongoing process. The challenge here is not to get so focused on the pine cone that you forget the tree, forest, national park and the original intention to get the whole thing surveyed and delivered on time.

People with placements between 16 and 22 of Scorpio or Cancer now have an opportunity to be effective or become more effective with regards to some greater goal. The question is: will you get yourself in gear?

People with placements between 17 and 21 of Leo or Libra are likely to feel frustrated by lack of cohesion or a sense that people are 'on your side.' Maybe you should be on theirs? Who's ego is trying to play a trump card?

And lastly...

People with placements between 17 and 21 of Aries and Aquarius are faced with making some changes. Resist not, lest they be made for you in a manner you really dislike!

By the time Mercury reaches the end of its retrograde on September 12th, it will have rolled back through all the emotional degrees (suggesting these weeks will not be placid) and arrive in the physical degrees, where it's what you do, how you do it and how fit you are to do it (or what you need to do to be fit) which counts.

The degree of that station/direct moment will be 5 Virgo - a degree known to pose a passel of passionate questions. Will you be defensive or aggressive? Will you control yourself and funnel your abilities usefully or splurge and scatter your energies to your own ultimate detriment. Will you trust the proven ally or make choices based on superficial qualities which turn out to not be 'quality' at all? Will you be lonely, defiant and isolated - or will you be dependent, dependable and respected?

Most of all, seeing as this station will involve Mercury - what will you think of yourself, and what will you think of others at this point? Will this be a time when you come to understand yourself better - or recognize who others are in a whole new and different way?

It's something to think about. But then, that's what Mercury retrograde is all about.


1 comment:

  1. The clarity of this post is dazzling! Thanks for the heads up on "getting in gear" - with Moon and Mars both between 16 and 22 Scorpio, sounds like this is the time to do exactly that!